The Second Day
With the rising sun, the streets of New York unveiled themselves in the light, showing their real face behind the gleam and glamour of night-life.
On this day, the skies remained sunny from the morning light. The increasingly cold weather changed one’s impression of the sky, from crystal-clear to resembling translucent, wintry ice.
Isaac and Miria were once again vexed.
“Can’t be... wine, can it?”
The wooden box they had stolen last night. Exactly what was this treasure of the Mafia? Given its weight, the stacks of bills must have been bound very tightly... At the time, they were bursting with anticipation and dreams about the fruits of their labor. Which turned out to be this.
“Why did they need three people for just 2 bottles of wine... and transport it in the middle of the night, no less?”
“Maybe they wanted to drink it at home, so they were bringing it back?”
“Let’s stop regretting this. This is the reward we sacrificed the helmet, mask and tuxedo to get our hands on.”
He ended up having to throw away even his tuxedo. Miria obviously couldn’t remove her dress, but she changed her clothes. That black dress was placed inside the suitcase.
Now the two were dressed up as a Father and a nun. Neither could possibly be particularly noticed by people on the streets.
“...... That's it, this must be high-class wine! Protected by the dragon, the legendary wine that only gods can drink!”
This was actually not far from the truth.
“Now then... what should we do with this?”
“Hurm--... Drinking all this is a bit... two bottles is far too much for just us...”
“Then, sell it?”
“Can we sell it though...? We need professionals to analyze it for that kind of stuff...”
At this point, Isaac suddenly thought of something.
“I've got it! We can give it to the Martillos! As a present in return for the honey.”
“I see! Oh, everyone will definitely be very happy! Something other than honey-mixed alcohol!”
“With this, it'll definitely be a ‘good deed’.”
“Mm! The children who died can also ascend to heaven!”
Speaking as though they’ve won something, these two walked towards the ‘Alveare’.
In the end, Ennis didn’t return to Szilard’s side. After some consideration, she decided to find those two and ask them a few questions. Her search had been going on since she saw them at the incident.
Of course, looking for two people you've only just met in a city as large as New York was difficult.
“If this continues... Master Szilard will...”
Even if she went back now it was already too late- Szilard would mercilessly ‘kill’ her. And even if she hid on the other side of the world, he would easily find her, then kill her anyway.
Aah, did something like gods really exist? If they did, how did one solicit help from them?
Ennis pondered over these things in her heart, then suddenly saw a Fatherly face at the end of the street.
This face seemed really familiar to Ennis.
If gods really existed, if they truly controlled all the people’s destinies... then this god was too astute by far... and far too merciless and cold.
“Aah, good morning, Mr. Maiza.”
Close to noon, Firo made his appearance at the Alveare.
Although yesterday’s party went on until very late, there wasn’t a slightest trace of a hangover or fatigue in Firo today.
“Morning. How’s it? It’s a new start for you.”
“Don’t really feel anything... or maybe I should say I started from scratch yesterday.”
Today was Firo’s break. It had already been decided that Firo would be responsible for one of the casinos from tomorrow on.
Firo had woken up early to drop by and greet that casino’s workers, and because there wasn’t anything special going on and he wanted lunch, he went to the Alveare.
He had just sat down to eat... when, from outside the bar’s entrance, the sound of knocking came from the door linked to the honey store.
At this time of day, all the liquor had been stored elsewhere, so there was no worry about sudden raids by the police. As such, Firo was not the slightest bit nervous as he stood up and walked to open the door.
But he never imagined the ones to enter would be a Father and a nun.
“Look, they’re here, they’re here, the good people!”
The two were spouting words that didn’t match up with their appearance. Firo had the feeling he had met them somewhere before.
“Ah... um---, Isaac and... Miria?”
“Absolutely spot on!”
“... I didn’t know you were a Father...”
“Eh? I've never been a Father...?”
Seeing the expressions of disbelief, Firo’s head started to hurt a little.
“We brought some wine today as thanks for the gift yesterday... Ah, well, although we don’t know what kind of wine it is, it should be quite good.”
Seeing the wooden box, Firo’s hand slowly came to a stop.
He had seen this box before. When he saw what was inside, he became more certain.
This was the box the arrogant old man was holding. And---
Raising her voice and calling them on the streets was a little rude, so she just followed them.
Then, disguised as Father and nun, Isaac and Miria walked into a honey specialist store.
She watched the entrance for a long while, but they still didn’t come out.
“What should I do...?”
Ennis decided to enter the shop. At that moment, she noticed a group of people coming out from the store, so she hurriedly moved away from the front of the store.
From the distance, she spied four men and women emerging from within. Two were Isaac and Miria. And...
When she saw the other two’s faces, her heart almost stopped.
These two men were familiar to her indeed.
No, it was actually the first time they’ve ‘met’. But in the ‘knowledge’ Szilard had previously imparted to her was information about these two people.
One of them was Szilard’s former colleague. And he was also the ‘Alchemist’ whose knowledge Szilard coveted, Maiza Avaro.
The other one... although she didn’t know his name, he was the youth who had been asking around for her.
The four exchanged brief farewells, then Isaac and Miria left while Maiza and the youth walked back into the store.
“I really don’t understand what happened... After Isaac and Miria left...”
The man with Maiza. He had been investigating about her all that time; could it be because Maiza already knew about her existence, so he let his accomplice ask around?
She wasn’t sure about Isaac’s relationship with them. Had Isaac been tricked and used by them?
In any case, after Szilard ‘ate’ Maiza, she only had to help Isaac and Miria stall for time so they could escape.
This woman never once thought that ‘she met Isaac, Miria, Maiza and his accomplice only because they were searching for her’. While extreme coincidence was required for this to occur... the main reason the thought never ocurred to her was because Ennis herself was very fond of this eccentric couple.
That was all.
“Ennis, explain. Where did you go and what happened to the ‘complete product’?”
When she returned to the building at Grand Central, no one other than Szilard was there.
Those old men were all people with a certain level of status, so it wasn’t possible to leave their positions for a few days in a row. Some came because they couldn’t wait for the ‘complete product’ to arrive, and likewise there were some who were unable to stand Szilard’s gaze and fled the scene.
There was no sign of Dallas or his cohorts. Well, they couldn’t have come back. If they did then it was likely they were already in Szilard’s right hand.
Ennis gave a simple recount of all that had happened. She concealed the matter about Isaac, and just said Maiza had taken the wine.
The effect of these words were instantaneous. Szilard’s mind was now preoccupied only with the thoughts about Maiza. It seemed Isaac and Miria were safe.
“... Take the car out, Ennis. I will go straight to where he is... As for Maiza, if I don’t ‘eat’ him then there is no meaning in me staying in this world... ku... kuhahahaha! Though I don’t know if the knowledge of my existence is a hindrance to that guy, but that’s all right! I’ll just have to ‘eat’ him. Hurry, Ennis! If others should taste the ‘complete product,’ then ‘eating’ will become troublesome!”
“Just as you said... if that Maiza really knows about us, then it’s very possible that he’ll let more of his friends drink that complete product...”
“No, you don’t have to worry about that. That guy originally hated ‘immortality’ more than anyone else! If he discovers the ‘complete product’ that grants immortality, he would definitely smash it there and then... But even if it is smashed it won’t hurt or itch me!”
This was ‘knowledge’ Ennis had not obtained from the alchemist she once ‘ate’. She knew that Maiza only survived because he suddenly awoke when Szilard was killing his friend ... that was all.
“... Bring a gun. This time you are permitted to be as violent as you like. If necessary, it doesn’t matter even if you have to kill everyone in New York.”
Although on the surface his words didn’t seem serious, but when she compared him to the normally baffling Szilard... this Szilard definitely seemed livelier than before.
Ennis found this all the more terrifying.
The wheel of destiny that progresses along the spiraling path. These tremors could lead to a complete derailment.
“What’s th’ matter, Dallas...”
“Chill! ...... Anyway, we better think about how we’re going to leave this city.”
Dallas and his cohorts had gone to a bar they didn’t usually frequent. The completed product had been taken in the pepper battle. If they went back they would definitely be eaten in the blink of an eye. It would be troublesome fighting him, given knives and guns weren’t of much use against the guy called Szilard.
“... Even if we’re gonna leave this city... we also need t’ plan what needs doing before we take off...”
“What needs doin'?”
“Y'know... Like killing that brat, the so-called Firo!”
The police force had finally disappeared from the Gandor Family’s office.
Berga, who had not spoken for a long time, slammed the nearest stool onto the floor.
With a dry, breaking sound, fragments of wood flew everywhere.
Luck caught one of the fragments in his hand and said,
“Calm down, Berga-bro... breaking all the chairs won’t help the situation.”
“Calm down, my ass! You can’t possibly expect me to be as calm as you!”
“If you can’t calm down, then who’ll take revenge for Mike?... I may look calm, but I’m actually very angry too.”
Luck squeezed the wooden fragment very hard. Blood trickled down from between his fingers.
“Yes, I am feeling very angry indeed. It may seem contradictory to be calmly angry, but being constantly angry just won’t work. How can we quench our anger? I’ve been considering this problem since a while ago, but no matter how I spin it I can only come up with one answer. Revenge. It may be quite a foolish answer. Regardless, I’ve been thinking; once we find the bastards who killed Mike and the others, should we hand them over to the police or take care of them ourselves? I really want to rip them to pieces with my own hands. Aah, saying this means I’m still not really calm now. Still, if I don’t keep reflecting over this, I’m afraid I’d have grabbed a gun and run out to find the offender long ago, or even done in all the poor citizens and police who got in the way.
So, I’m begging you. If that really happens, Berga-bro, please, hit me, shoot me- you must stop me at any cost. Like I said... I think this is a bad idea, and all I can do is hope that my older brothers will calm down.”
In the span of the entire speech, Luck’s expression never once changed.
“.................. I see ... I’m sorry, Luck. But you do need to calm down, more so than us.”
Sensing the burning rage in his younger brother, Berga finally calmed down.
Keith silently watched his younger brothers. He seemed to have something on his mind, but nothing could be deduced from his permanent poker-face.
“... In any case, I think the neighboring gangs are definitely going to be suspicious about the police’s visit today... Naturally, reporting this to those gangs would be good... as both information and a warning, I suppose...”
Luck quietly stated the arrangements for here on. Either way, they had to start with the neighboring gangs.
“Alright... first go to the Martillos’ place. If a small organization like us was attacked, then they might be the next target, or they may even know something about this...”
“Now then... It brings a tear to the eye, us leaving this city.”
The robber-duo were strolling in the direction of the station for trains leaving the city.
“In any case, there sure are lots of police around.”
The police couldn’t possibly be looking for them, right? Their disguises were perfect, and they also didn’t let them see their own faces.
Among the crowd of police officers was a man issuing orders, and when the police dispersed, the two approached to ask,
“Excuse me, did something happen?”
The man who was being questioned... Inspector Edward Noah gave a little nod in the direction of the man who looked like a Father, and gave a brief outline of what had happened.
“Father, it’s... no... you may already know about this, but there was a gang battle last night... Quite a few Gandor people were killed.”
Edward only repeated what had been said in the papers. Perhaps if the other person was not a Father, Edward wouldn’t even have looked at him.
“Father, I have sinned. I always thought it was better if more of those guys died in their squabbles. But when I see those pitiful bodies... I feel the same as when I see ordinary citizens’ bodies, and I find myself hating those killers... Though those corpses have been steeped in the crimson blood of violence, I still pray that they’ll be at peace after death...”
Having said that, Edward quickly departed from the scene.
Left behind were the two people with looks of despair.
Gandor people had been killed. These words were the only sound echoing in their ears.
“... What... What should we do! I never thought they’d die!”
“Ah...... aaah...... Was it too much pepper?......”
These two were completely, utterly and extremely wrong. They had always thought Dallas and his cohorts were Gandors, which was why they thought they had killed them with pepper.
“Aaah... If that’s the case, then how can we ever face those dead children...?”
“And Ennis too...”
“I never thought it’d be this serious...”
At this moment, Miria exclaimed.
“Wh-wh-what is it?”
“What, what if, Isaac-- Firo and the others have already taken that box, and if the police or the Gandors find it...?”
Then it wouldn’t be them, but rather Firo and the others who would be arrested.
In other words, the possibility of escaping from this city now was high if they let things be... But this thought never crossed their minds.
Because giving away something one stole wasn’t right in the first place.
“What a disaster...!”
“We have to go back!”
The Father and nun ran.
The fates that were, at one point, plucked out of the spiral.
Without anyone noticing, they were sucked in once again.
“Hey, those two people just now...”
Because Edward was following up something urgent, Ronald and Bill investigated alone.
It was then a man and a woman ran past in front of them, with heights matching those described in the reports.
“Ah--... Hold on, could it've been... those two?”
“What should we do?”
“Hm--... Let’s put it aside for now. Anyway, we'd better head off to Grand Central first. That’s where our real mission lies... Once we’re done with that side, we’ll drop by Edward’s for a chat.”
“... So it seems.”
“Ah--... You know, lying to Edward is somewhat unfair to him.”
The spiral’s currents sped up.
The tip of the spiral gradually contracted, eventually focusing on a certain end point.
The spiraling stairs of destiny. On the stairs propped up by the ‘Wine of Immortality’, various destinies started to turn like the wheels of a car.
Together, their movement caused the spiraling tower to start to sway.
As though the spiraling tower wanted to collapse itself.
“What’s wrong, Firo? Your expression’s been a bit off for a while now...”
Behind a heavy door in Alveare, Maiza and the others were eating a simple lunch. Other executives besides Firo and Maiza were gathered in the shop. People outside of the executive were forbidden from entering, so there were no picciottos to be seen.
“Is it something to do with the wine and the wooden box?”
Pointing the wooden box on the table with his fork, Maiza enquired concernedly.
“Ah... no...... The coincidences keep happening or something......”
“Meeting Isaac and Miria again counts as one. And what they brought along, too...”
Just as Firo was about to explain, the doors opened with a large crash.
Everyone in the bar turned their heads to this sound.
There stood an old gentleman. It was a face no one recognized.
No one except one man: Maiza.
“...... Szilard ......”
“It’s been a long time, Maiza Avaro! Or should we say it’s been more than two hundred years!”
“Listen...... Forget the other guys... We only have to kill that brat then escape... Well, since we have Thompsons here, we can kill ‘em all when escaping, so we won’t have to worry afterwards... Hahha...”
As they walked along the road towards the Alveare, Dallas and the other two checked the gunpowder in the Tommy guns. Together with the drum magazines, they still had 100 bullets left.
“By the way, Dallas... The ‘Martillo Family’ that brat’s part of, is it really at that hideout?”
“Mmhmm... I paid for this news at the information agency... If that brat isn’t there then, we’ll just wipe out this Martillo Family then go back. Then leave the brat a message written in blood, saying ‘next time it'll be you’...”
“Haha, then we’d be just like that Jack the Ripper?”
“Old-fashioned tactics are perfect against those old-fashioned guys... haha...”
In the shadow under the worn eaves, the three entered a dim alleyway. Because there were too many police on the streets, they decided to come here to avoid attention. Of course, if they were discovered they were fully prepared to kill the police and innocent passers-by on the streets. No, rather than being mentally prepared for this possibility, it’d be more accurate to say they actually hoped it would happen.
It was good that there was no one in the alleyway, so they could at least check their machine guns in peace.
“Now then... this is the final matter to be settled this city. Put your all into this, we don’t wanna end up like some kinda unemployed beggar on the streets, yeah?”
“Hahaha... Begging ain’t bad- that beggar recently was very amusing, wasn’t he...”
“Aah, you’re talking about that guy who had flowers in a paper bag? That guy should’ve made lotsa profit.”
“Eh, Dallas, ferget about begging... What’s it again? Didn’t you say something like ‘nowadays you can make more money robbin' than begging’?”
“Now we’re really going to be robbers... hahha... hahahahhahhaha...”
The spiral of fate gradually contracted. This was not by chance, but rather, it was inevitable.
“... Ro-robbers... we-, were they talking about us just now?”
“Doesn’t seem like it... Because those voices just now came from the other side of the wall.”
Isaac and Miria were pacing back and forth in a construction site. Just as they were puzzling over ‘how should we explain it to them?’, they realized they had already lost their way.
“B-but... could it be the police...”
“I’ll have a look.”
Scaling the wall using a tin drum, Miria stealthily looked to the other side of the wall.
Shocked, she was about to scramble down when Isaac also jumped up, and the drum made a ‘clank clank clank’ noise as it shook.
“Eh eh eh, how is it?”
“It’s those guys! Those guys! The ones who beat up Isaac yesterday... The guys Ennis took care of and handed over to the police! Even though there’s one less person, there’s no mistake!”
Isaac and Miria didn’t realize they were the very same people they had attacked last night.
After thinking a little, Isaac reached a conclusion.
“I see... I get it!”
“They must have broken out of jail!”
“Woaaah, that’s some serious crime!”
“That must be it... they’re back for revenge on Ennis...”
“That’s terrible! Ennis will be killed!”
Miria screamed as her face turned white.
“Relax, isn’t Ennis strong? No matter how many times those guys---”
“Because because, those guys... were holding machine guns!”
Hearing this, even Isaac’s face paled.
“...... You’re kidding right......”
It was very likely Ennis would die. His hero... no, heroine was going to be killed. But what could he do?
“You know, I... yesterday, I was almost killed by those hoodlums...”
“But you know, Ennis saved me, so Ennis is my hero.”
“You know, heroes... can’t die... they can’t die.”
Seeing Isaac’s contemplative look, Miria quietly took in a deep breath.
“... Holmes, killed by hoodlums who escaped from prison... Conan Doyle never wrote about this kind of stuff... He didn’t write it, did he?”
“Of course... That’d be pointless. If that happened Holmes’ fans would be sad. If he was killed, just like that, then won’t his arch enemy and rival, Moriarty, become meaningless?... Those guys can’t possibly do those sorts of things. Right? Miria.”
Although his reasoning was nonsense, he had tried his hardest. He was searching hard for the right words to encourage himself.
“Our hero... no... heroine... to repay our debt of gratitude, we must do something. Right, Miria?... Even if we can’t become good people... at least, Ennis...”
“If we don’t help her we’d be no good!”
Without waiting to listen to the last of Isaac’s words, Miria was already chasing after Dallas and his cohorts, pulling on Isaac’s hand as she went.
“He... Heeeeeeeeeey, wait a sec, only I can g-g-go... L-l-l-look, they’re all holding machine guns so you might might might die... gulp!”
Talking and being pulled along in a run caused Isaac to accidentally bit his tongue.
He covered his mouth and thought,
(Aah, being together with Miria is just too wonderful.)
Thinking that, he grinned as though amused by something.
A Father and nun ran down the brick-walled streets.
And without any knowledge of prayers.
Even so, they still wished to save someone.
Maiza shook as he stared at the old man. Surprised by his reaction, Firo asked,
“... Um... What kind of weird stuff are you talking about, grandpa... you two know each other...?”
Firo eyed the old man with extreme suspicion, then glanced behind him... there, in the corridor that connected to the honey store, he saw a familiar figure on the ground.
“... Miss Sena? ... Wait... Miss Sena!”
Firo immediately shot up from his seat without thinking. Seeing Firo’s expression, all the other executives also stood up. In an instant, the air in the bar was thrumming with tension.
The old man didn’t seem to mind the mood as he smiled joyfully.
“...... Ha-haa! Relax, Maiza. And you, nameless cannon fodder... I just knocked down that girl, that’s all. But I may have been a bit heavy handed, so the first one or two vertebra of her spine might have broken...”
“...... You bastard! I’ll kill you!”
Randy, sitting in the corner of the room, slammed the table in anger. Pezzo also pounded the table with one fat hand. The impact sent all the dishes flying, and they smashed against the ground.
“My, my... there’re still seven vertebra left, so is it really necessary to raise such a big fuss over breaking just one or two?”
The old man gave a taunting laugh. Not just Randy, but all the other executives including Firo were furious, and they all reached inside their jackets as they stepped towards the old man.
Maiza’s shout stopped their advance.
It seemed unlikely, but sweat was beading down Maiza’s forehead.
“Everyone... I’m the only person he’s looking for... I’ll take care of him personally, so please leave this place through the back door...”
“Oy... What’re you saying, Maiza!”
After a moment’s hesitation, Maiza revealed a little of his history with Szilard.
“This man is the one responsible for... my friends’... and my younger brother’s... deaths.”
With those words, the entire room was plunged into silence. And the one who shattered the silence was Szilard himself.
“Then I ‘ate’ another five people... so it should be eighteen to be precise! Fuhahahahaha!”
Only Firo, who was by Maiza’s side, noticed something. Anxiety and grimness showed on Maiza’s face, emotions Firo had never seen him express in the five years he had known that man.
When he saw the burning fury in Maiza’s eyes, Firo was at a loss of what to do... at the same time the flames of anger also raged in Firo’s heart.
“Mr. Maiza... I don’t understand what’s going on but... Putting it simply, this guy is Mr. Maiza’s enemy, am I right?...”
“...... In that case, he’s our enemy too.”
Randy followed on from Firo’s words, and flipped the switch that started the battle.
As he finished saying those words, Randy pulled out a handgun from under his jacket and fired at Szilard’s body.
A sharp staccato sounded as a single red hole pierced Szilard’s right chest.
Then, one hole became two.
“Damn right, the moment he attacked Sena he became our enemy, right? Randy?”
The person saying these words was Pezzo, who was holding a still-smoking handgun.
“Anyway, this kind of old shithead would only rust our knives...”
“Be careful not to hit Sena...”
Seeing the old man still hadn’t fallen, the other executives quickly pulled their triggers.
Unafraid of prison or just venting their pent-up rage... none of them were the slightest bit uncertain about their actions.
The crisp gun shots resounded in the store.
“It’s useless... guns have no effect on him...”
Maiza’s voice was lost in the thunder of the echoes.
Only when all the members had used up their ammunition did the rain of bullets stop.
The bullets that passed through Szilard’s body or were off-target peppered the lavishly decorated, grand walls, turning it into something that looked like the inner wall of a public toilet in the Bronx.
“...... Oy...... Maiza...”
Randy waved his knife around as he asked.
“Why’s... that old man’s still standing?...”
Szilard’s torso was covered in holes. But his mouth once again curved into a big grin.
When he saw his expression, Maiza shouted the answer at the top of his voice,
“I’ll tell you the reason later, just escape for now!”
Szilard’s hand had already reached towards his feet. Placed there was a black case. It was a high-quality case, large enough to hold a tenor saxophone.
“My, my... Getting rid of the pain is really tough... If I really passed out from that, then invulnerability becomes pointless...
He smiled as he squatted, and opened the case with a snap.
Among all the people in the room, only very few could guess what was going to come out of the case.
So despite Maiza’s warning, not a single person had any intention of escaping.
“If you hit my spine or my head, I mightn’t be able to move for a short period of time... Ah well, I can’t thank you enough for aiming at my heart... But then again, I can avoid any shots at my head.”
The first person to realize what was inside was Firo, who immediately lunged forward.
In the instant Firo closed the gap between them, he kicked away the case Szilard opened. He then twisted his body to kick Szilard in the face.
“Young, aren’t you...?”
His leg was blocked by Szilard’s arm.
“Hmph... Youth. It’s what angers me the most.”
Just as Firo lost his balance, Szilard’s foot struck him in his abdomen.
Just like that, Firo was subdued as he was sent flying back to his original place... beside Maiza.
“Firo... As the conta è oro, I order you...”
Supporting Firo, who was about to collapse, Maiza issued an order.
“You will escape from the back door... No... Report what has happened here to the Don and the secretary!”
Even if told to escape, Firo wasn’t the type to run away. When Maiza considered this point, he immediately issued this ‘order’.
“B-but, Mr Maiza...”
“...... It’s all right... I’m not planning to die any time soon...”
---Not before killing Szilard— Maiza didn’t finish the sentence.
“... I understand!”
Although for a moment he was torn by indecision, just one glance at Maiza’s eyes was enough to make Firo dash out the door.
... At that moment, all hatred had disappeared from Maiza’s eyes... he just tranquilly smiled.
That gaze was one of preparation and determination. If someone inside the organization had that kind of look in his eyes, whether his intentions were right or not... no matter what one did it was useless. Do as he said, because the only way to stop him would be to kill him yourself. It was a simple case of choosing one of two options.
So Firo decided to trust in Maiza’s determination, as kicked hard against the wooden floorboards and ran out in one breath.
“I want to escape? Well, it’s all right but... Szilard, you’d go to any lengths to ‘eat’ me, right? Whether it be my flesh... or my spirit.”
Grinning exultantly, Szilard lifted something from the black case.
“... Hey, hey...... Is this for real....?”
-said someone among the executives.
Firo ran towards the back door. Behind him, Szilard pointed the military-issue submachine gun towards him. There was no hesitation whatsoever as he pulled the trigger.
Hearing the thunderous gunfire coming from behind, Firo instinctively wanted to duck for cover- but onslaught never came. So Firo’s resolve not to turn back hardened and he disappeared into the corridor linked to the back door.
“... You’re really baffling. Is that youngster really that important?”
Standing before Szilard, who had a look of complete disbelief on his face, and blocking the gun fire was Maiza. His body was wrecked with the pain of the countless bullet holes, and crimson fluid gushed forth like a fountain.
“... The bullets that went through didn’t even reach that youngster... Hmph, so it’s the quality of the bullets... Or perhaps that’s the limit of this gun?”
Showing no special interest in Maiza’s state, Szilard started sizing up the gun in his hand, wreathed in the light smoke coming from the muzzle.
“I’m... all...... right...... quick...... escape...... plea...... se.”
“How can we escape when a friend is injured, stupid Maiza! If we’ll all gang up on that guy, there’s no way he can’t not die!”
As he spoke, Randy grabbed a round chair by its leg and hurled it at Szilard.
The first chair was evaded with a light twist of his torso, but this was followed by a second chair thrown by Pezzo. At the same time, the other executives too started throwing chairs at him.
When Szilard judged it was impossible even for him to continue avoiding the chairs, he had no choice but to block with his hands. Szilard’s arms started whirling around rapidly.
With this opening, Randy, Pezzo and a few other executives had closed in.
If everyone moved in together the direction of the attack would be confused, but if everyone moved it one at a time it would be too time-consuming.
“I’ll get you!”
Randy brandished his knife as he flew at him. Szilard’s response to this was only to step back a little to avoid him.
The executives approaching from the front didn’t notice that Randy’s entry position had created a blind spot in Szilard’s field of vision, such that he couldn’t see Randy. It was a corner of the narrow corridor.
“It must be hard for you, you nameless sacrifices.”
The attack didn’t stop as all the men pressed forward in a line.
At this moment, the machine gun made an abrupt noise.
A breath’s moment later, following the lead of Pezzo, whose entire front of his body was stained bright red, quite a few executives collapsed around the entrance of the room. To prevent Pezzo and the others’ attack, Szilard pointed the machine gun downwards and swept the floor with gunfire. Then, he pointed the muzzle at the remaining executives in the room. After some deafening gunfire, the magnificent bar that once epitomized the Prohibition era was turned into ruins mirroring the aftermath of the Civil War.
“You’re fucking kidding me... Shit...”
That Randy was fortunate enough to avoid being honeycombed was because he had quickly hidden himself behind the wall. The inside of the corridor was Szilard’s blind spot.
“...... Oy... Pezzo...... You sunnova bitch...”
Seeing his friend’s corpse lying on the floor down the corridor, Randy fought to keep himself calm and slowly drew himself closer towards the corridor. Knife in hand, he prepared to cut down with his knife the instant he saw Szilard’s face... Although he knew it was very difficult to accomplish, at least he had some kind of plan of action in mind.
Suddenly, a silhouette flew out down the corridor.
Randy brandished his knife... then froze in that position.
What flew out... no, what Szilard had thrown out was the sightlessly staring body of Sena, her head lolling around limply.
In the instant he stiffened, a bullet hole appeared in the back of the falling Sena.
Wanting to shout something, Randy cavorted his death dance in a spray of blood mist to the sound of gunfire.
All this happened just as Maiza’s regeneration finished... truly the events of that night were nothing short of a macabre comedy.
Immediately as he opened the door to the store, Firo was assaulted by the undeniable feeling that something was wrong.
With no time to pinpoint the source of the feeling, he hastily took a step backwards.
Just then— something whizzed past before his eyes like a guillotine blade.
It was a few seconds before he realized this was the raised leg of a person. Then, his gaze turned towards the owner of the leg.
Firo had definitely seen this face before... no, rather, he had seen the attire before.
“The one yesterday ...”
Ennis also noticed that the other person’s face was very familiar, and so halted her attacking hands.
Thanks to ‘Barnes’ knowledge’ from Szilard, she knew he was the man who was looking for her. Although she knew nothing else about him, she couldn’t help but stop herself.
Szilard had said ‘If Maiza escapes from the back door, stop him’, so when the door opened she automatically attacked... but it seemed he had seen through her kick when the shadow from her foot fell on his face. Moreover, it had to be this man.
After a little thought, Ennis decided to start attacking once again. This man was probably Szilard’s enemy. If she let him escape her own life may be forfeit.
But at this moment, Isaac and Miria’s faces came to mind. If Szilard was to order her to kill Isaac and Miria, what would she do?
“Woah, wait a minute!”
After a few seconds, the woman before him resumed her ferocious attack.
Although he dodged the first blow expertly, he turned around only to be greeted by another two consecutive attacks as Ennis landed a clean hit on Firo’s shoulder with her other foot.
The fiercer-than-anticipated attacks drove Firo back until he was pushed up against the wall. The same time he felt the light impact of the attacks, the cold brick wall touched his back.
“Mm... I was careless...”
Ennis didn’t stop and threw a punch at him.
Aah, this was very similar to the Japanese martial art Yagulma taught us. When Firo thought that, he automatically used the moves he'd practiced with Yagulma.
His right hand shot out and caught Ennis’s right wrist. Although her speed was not to be trifled with, Firo could clearly follow her when compared to Yagulma... and because her wrist was more slender than a man’s, it was easier to hold.
Ennis’s eyes widened a little.
“- I said-”
Keeping his left hand held high, he pulled Ennis’s body close while turning his back. Just like in a dance, Firo’s body slipped through under Ennis’s arm... and in an instant their two bodies were aligned.
“-‘wait’, didn’t I?”
Then, wrestling to keep a hold on her wrists, Firo used his leg to force the already leaning body towards the floor. The result was that Firo was bending down... facing Ennis, whose back was lightly touching the ground.
And Ennis’s right hand was still in Firo’s grip. This meant no matter how she writhed, she would still be restrained by the youth before her eyes. Or at least no ‘knowledge’ within Ennis’s mind could tell her how to free herself. This youth possessed ‘knowledge’ of fighting techniques that she didn’t possess.
With a calm expression, Firo asked the woman,
“... Explain yourself. Are you related to that old man inside? Why did he come here, and why can’t guns kill him? And most importantly... who are you?”
Ennis was a little surprised to hear that. This man knew nothing about her. And not just that, but even about Maiza and Szilard. ... Then why was he looking for her?
“Come on, I’m practically begging you... I really don't know a thing. Aren’t I just an idiot, the way I am now?”
Knowing absolutely nothing... just like herself a long time ago. It was as though Ennis’s world before she ‘ate’ the alchemist had been revived. Not being given more than only the barest minimum of knowledge. When she thought back to that time, Ennis felt ill even though the current situation had nothing to do with her. The pain of ignorance was only something that could be felt after one knew everything.
“... You won’t regret this?”
“Once you know... you can’t turn back... Do you really want to know?”
For a few breaths, there was utter silence. After a little consideration, Firo started to answer.
“Huh... It’s just like what was said in the ‘ceremony’ yesterday...”
“Tell me. I don’t know if I’ll have regrets, but I’m very good at forgetting things... I’m stupid, see.”
Having said that, he released Ennis’s right wrist and straightened himself up.
For a moment, Ennis was a little dumbfounded, then stood up with a disbelieving face.
“... It never crossed your mind I would escape?”
Her direct gaze never left Firo’s eyes.
As expected, it was a few moments before Firo replied. Under different circumstances... if these two people met in an ordinary encounter, his cheeks would probably be flushed bright red.
“Don’t worry about it... I’m stupid, that’s all there is to it.”
“You are truly a foolish man, Maiza.”
Szilard regarded Maiza with a pitying look.
In the bar filled with the stench of blood, only two people remained standing- Szilard and Maiza.
“I surpass you by far...”
The amiable smile and courteous speech had vanished completely from Maiza now.
“Back then... when you succeeded in summoning the ‘demon’ on that ship, I should’ve killed you and stolen your right...”
In contrast, Szilard remained cool and collected. Although his opponent was also an ‘immortal’ like himself, Szilard never doubted the absolute advantage he held.
Aware of the fury triggered by tragic scene around him, Maiza struggled to suppress his emotions as he searched for the right words. He had to choose them carefully is he wished to get out of this unfavourable situation.
“The ‘demon’ would... if I died, he’ll return home without fail... That guy’ll keep his word on this matter, if nothing else...”
“Ha! From the way you speak it’s almost like the ‘demon’ is your friend. You, who pursued the art of alchemy relentlessly- in the end, you turned your back on the path of science and started using ‘magic’... and as if that wasn’t enough for you, you even summoned a ‘demon’... and this demon even said the following to us thirty companions... ‘I will give you the Knowledge’!”
Szilard was just like the vocal actor for a silent film, speaking with the tone of one who had personally witnessed everything.
“You were one of us too... Cut the crap...”
“You said ‘I want to understand immortality’. Once you received that wine-like elixir, you shared it for everyone to drink... that was the beginning of this life. And you knew the ‘elixir of immortality's recipe’! In other words, you had gained the right to spread ‘immortality’ to the world!”
Speaking loudly, Szilard seemed like he was praising Maiza’s laudable achievements, but in an instant he shook his head and the volume of his speech dropped.
“... But...... the very next day, you started saying something along the lines of sealing the method of producing the ‘Elixir of Immortality’. ... Now let me hear your reasons for doing so, Maiza. Originally I thought you wanted to monopolize the production... but it seems you actually loathe ‘immortality’ itself...”
Faced with the raised questions, Maiza spoke slowly to persuade him.
“One of them is that... this kind of immortality has some drawbacks...”
“This kind of immortality... will end when one is ‘eaten’ by others who possess the same ability...”
“Hmph... this is a system kindly created by the demon, is it not?”
“No... Of course, this is true only if you hate that person... But it causes even those in love to ‘kill each other’, just like a ‘demonic’ system.... Think about it and you’ll see that, even for you, there exists those who can kill you... in other words, our other friends and I were always thinking about ‘preparations to settle matters’, right? Just like that. Those who have surpassed death from old age fear ‘death’ even more than average people, right? In other words, everyone wants to become ‘that last person’. Should that type of person appear, shadows of suspicion would swell, so naturally immortals would kill each other without fail, correct?”
“Even those in love... in their eternal time, they may very well feel that they ‘want to know everything about one’s partner’... If they truly love them... then the simplest way... is ‘to know everything about one’s lover’... In other words, ‘eat’ to fully learn everything about one’s lover... a temptation none can resist...”
“With these kinds of fools, just let them eat each other to death.”
“I wonder... Or maybe that kind of thinking nowadays is foolish. But after ‘immortality’ has been spread... after it has pervaded the entire world, this world’s moral principles, religion, and even laws will change completely. In that time, another concern arises... ‘If I accept all of the other person’s knowledge, then they will live on in me’... If the future world evolves into that naturally, I wouldn’t mind. But I refuse to let it be a product of my actions. Because I still like this world, that’s why.”
“...... Hmph. In that case, you can relax. I won’t bestow this power on those fools...”
“And the biggest reason being----”
Maiza spoke over Szilard, asserting,
“---Because there are guys like you.”
“---Master Szilard, to increase his own ‘knowledge’, started ‘eating’ the alchemists who were originally his companions... But he mixed up Maiza and his younger brother and ‘ate’ his brother--- after that, Master Szilard was trapped by the remaining survivors and thrown into the sea... The surviving alchemists sailed to New York... And Master Szilard did not die, but relentlessly pursued them to the shores of America...”
Firo was completely captivated by the ‘knowledge’ Ennis spoke of. As someone who had never even heard of alchemists, he wouldn’t have believed in the wacky talk about immortality and such had he not seen Szilard, covered in bullet holes and still laughing.
Then blood disappearing from Maiza’s wrist last night was also due to this. Firo puzzled out her words bit by bit as he listened attentively.
“... Please, stop calling that guy ‘master’. What are you to him?”
Ennis’s face became increasingly somber.
“... I am... Szilard himself. I suppose one could say that.”
“To start off... why do you want to know how to make the immortality elixir? This just increases the number of people who can kill you...”
Maintaining a fixed distance between Szilard and himself, Maiza raised a very obvious question.
“... Paracelsus’ homunculus can only survive in flasks.”
Maiza had heard of the name ‘Paracelsus’ before. The ‘homunculus’ said to be born from man’s hands. Created by the world-famous alchemist Paracelsus and the size of a flask, it was a little man who could only survive in that flask.
But then, after Paracelsus passed away from cancer, that little man also disappeared.
“A perfect homunculus born from knowledge must innately possess all the knowledge from birth... Naturally, in my search for the ‘complete knowledge’, man-made life was born... For something outside of your field of expertise, this level should be comprehensible, yes?”
In contrast to Maiza, Szilard spun his words lightly like usual.
“This really isn’t my speciality, but... in the ‘eaten’ knowledge, great leaps of progress have been made in this field of research... And I have made use of it...”
Maiza wasn’t aware that one of the alchemists aboard that ship was conducting such research.
What was more important to Maiza was that knowledge ... no, that a man like Szilard had eaten someone possessing such knowledge, which tipped the odds further against him.
Uncaring of Maiza’s hateful gaze, Szilard cheerfully continued his exposition.
“The little one born in the flask... furthermore, a man-made life that would die if the source of human blood is taken away: the homunculus. Extremely delicate creatures, don’t you think? This is the charity I thought of— to bestow the power of immortality upon the weak and others.”
Suddenly, a bullet-ridden chair leg shattered. At the sudden sound, Szilard glanced a little in that direction.
Maiza seized that moment and his right hand shot out and crossed the gap between them.
“You’re a really naive fellow.”
As though he had anticipated the attack, the submachine gun Szilard carried moved quickly. A twist of the body caused Maiza’s right wrist to be caught... and a sound not normally heard resounded in the room.
“In the ‘knowledge’ Szilard had obtained was the homunculus... There was knowledge regarding man-made life. To put it simply... it is the way a human can be born without male and female reproduction... I am made up of cells from Szilard’s immortal body and... female cells... from an abducted female around the same age as I am now... Then I was created by catalysing the two types of cells... He proceeded a significantly different way from Paracelsus’s original method of production...”
She rested for a breath here, then continued speaking in Firo’s direction.
“Originally those cells should immediately return to Szilard’s body...... But when I was made, ‘failed’ wine was used as a culture fluid and I was grown in the culture tank* until I was the same age as my mother... After that, my growth stopped since I had the same composition as Szilard...”
- Growth tank? Artificial womb? Lit trans: ‘nurturing machine’
“...... ah--... In other words?”
“As a colony detached from the main colony, I can receive knowledge from Szilard. On the other hand, Szilard can separate the female cell constituents in my cells from Szilard’s immortal cell constituents...”
“Wait, wait, wait. My brain is a little slow... Can you say it simply?”
Firo complained, resting his head on a hand.
“If we think of Szilard as a company’s head quarters... I am a branch office. If you think of every worker as an intelligent colony... then the headquarters can cause me, the branch office manager, to become unemployed any time...”
“... So what you’ve said, in other words...?”
“...In other words, Szilard’s will is sufficient to cause my death...”
For the first time, an angry expression crossed Firo’s face.
“The hell... There’s no way something like that can happen!”
“To Szilard, I suppose I’m like his daughter...”
“What kind of parent would kill their daughter at a whim and to use it as a threat to get her to work! It’s all right, you’re so beautiful there’s no way you’re the daughter of that shady-looking old geezer- your faces don’t look the same. I can guarantee that... well, in any case, don’t worry.”
“Eh? ... But...”
“It’s fine, so don’t worry! In any case, that geezer should probably have been given a thorough beating by Mr. Maiza and the others...”
The two’s conversation was interrupted.
“On a date in broad daylight, huh... As expected, brats nowadays do things differently, huh?”
Firo and Ennis turned to see a few familiar faces.
“Dallas... Why’re you here?”
Like Firo, Ennis was surprised to see them.
“My, my... Big sis', even you’re here... This is convenient.”
They saw the two people behind Dallas, holding machine guns.
“... the hell’s this?”
“Now that you’ve seen it you understand, don’t you... Machine guns. Hahhaha...”
The two holding machine guns could only give forced smiles at the boring joke.
“Ah-, well, sis, for your information... We’re cuttin’ ties with our boss, Szilard. And, our last big event in this city is to slaughter that brat but, you know... who’d guess you’d be here too? So we’ll go ahead and attack you while we’re at it.”
Although Dallas and his cohorts had heard that Ennis was also immortal, they judged that there’d be no problem if they escaped before she regenerated.
“No last words before you go to hell, brat?”
“We’re curious as to how you acquired those guns... Mr. Dallas?”
The one who spoke was not Firo.
When Dallas fearfully turned to face the voice coming from behind, a gun was prodding his head. The other two had guns pressed against their heads in the same manner by Keith and Berga.
“He... hey, hey... Mr. Luck... Please forgive us...”
“All right, then please answer my question.”
Luck’s gun was pushed more forcefully between Dallas’s eyebrows.
What were they doing here? It was highly improbable they were here because they had killed the four people, so Dallas desperately tried to think of a way to overturn the odds. If they were blown away by the guns here, Ennis would probably fetch Szilard, making an immortal body as good as nothing.
“... This gun is... it was found where that brat there, Firo, had hidden it...”
Dallas immediately uttered a lie. Without giving Ennis any time to deny his claim, he quickly continued babbling.
“Truth is, we were keeping a lookout to ambush that brat there last night... The brat was headed towards your hideout holding a machine gun, wasn’t he? And after that, we heard the frightening sound of gunfire coming from your hideout...”
Dallas pushed the blame for the massacre last night to Firo. Even though it was a blatant lie, if his opponents’ concentration wavered for just one moment it would be OK. So long as the muzzle moved down by just a little... It’d be dangerous to be shot in the head, but if it was just the body then there’d definitely be no problem. Then he’d use that opportunity to slice open their throats with a knife...
“Why... do you know about what happened last night? It hasn’t even been reported on the news...”
“Eh? B-because we were behind Firo...”
“... You think we’re on bad terms with the Martillos...?”
“And as for last night... We three were together with Firo.”
“A close brother brought up in the same apartment had received a promotion, so we attended his celebratory party last night... that’s right, we stayed out very late... 'till right when Mike and the others were killed!”
Gunfire rang out, and part of Dallas’s head was blown off. Following that, Keith and Berga discharged their guns. Their heads blown off in the same way, the remaining two collapsed with the machine guns in their hands.
“How can we let you shoulder the responsibility alone?”
Seeing his two older brothers grinning broadly, the youngest struggled with his words as he spoke.
“... Sorry. Berga-bro, Keith-bro... It seems I couldn’t keep calm after all...”
“... Don’t worry.”
Keith had not spoken for almost a full day.
Firo, who had been watching everything, greeted the three men.
“You’re a lifesaver.”
“Nah... We heard the sound of machine guns, so we came around the back to see what was going on. Firo... It seems we have been completely left in the dark... Could you explain what happened?”
“I’ll definitely explain afterwards. But for now I have to first find the Don... And this is...”
Only after speaking to this point did Firo realise he still didn’t know the woman’s name.
Meanwhile, Ennis was also extremely perplexed. Who were these three people? Should she tell them about the state of Dallas’s and the others’ bodies? And in the first place, Firo was also her enemy.
... But Ennis could no longer regard him as an enemy.
“Hey, big bro. These bodies, how should we hide them? ... Wait a sec... Hey, Luck, these guys are holding machine guns, so this counts as self-defence right?”
“Please wait! ... Before that, please tie up the three fallen people...”
She said that without thinking.
Firo and the others looked disbelievingly at Ennis.
“They... though not complete, they’re also ‘immortals’...”
“Huh? Oy, what’re you saying, sis? They’re completely dead...”
As he spoke, Berga cast his eyes in the direction of the corpses. And, his expression froze.
“... What the hell?”
The head, which was originally blown apart, was repairing itself cleanly.
Then, those eyes flew open.
In that instant, Berga’s body shuddered violently. The rain of bullets coming from below pounded into Berga’s body.
Blood spurted out from his bullet-peppered torso and he fell to the ground with a loud thud.
It was not just the two other brothers, but even Firo and Ennis didn’t understand what had happened.
“Why... can they regenerate so quickly...?”
Ennis didn’t know that their heads had been damaged once, so their bodies were already used to regenerating this portion. To put it differently, their flesh was younger than those of the old men Ennis was used to seeing, so their innate regeneration speed would be faster.
Or perhaps their brains’ fuses had no time to stop, so even though their heads had been blown off, Dallas and his cohorts regained consciousness as their brains regenerated.
Calm, composed, and unsmiling, Dallas and his cohorts swung the weapons in their hands at the remaining four people.
Fierce gunfire resounded in the alley.
“Weak... Is this all that’s come of your two hundred years?”
Maiza was lying on the floor. His broken wrist was silently regenerating.
“You seem to have relied on your own power to train yourself, but I’ve used a more reasonable way. I gave the strong a ‘failure’... That’s right, made from half the knowledge of the refinement process you taught your younger brother... Well, while it cannot stop people from aging, they’ll at least become indestructible. And, most importantly...”
One step by one step, Szilard stalked towards Maiza, who had not finished regenerating.
“... They can be ‘eaten’... by us, who have drunk the ‘complete product’, and this is one-sided... That is to say, the strong drink the ‘failure,’ and I ‘eat’ them. Is there a more effective way of training? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
The wooden crate on the table was opened. Szilard checked whether the quantity of wine inside had been reduced.
“As I thought, no one has drunk it yet...”
“...? What is it?”
“... Oh, don’t you know? This is... the ‘elixir of immortality’ we once drunk. I finally succeeded in completing it alone.”
Although it was actually the work the brewer who was employed to complete the product, Szilard claimed it all as his own.
“... It can’t be!”
“I don’t you how you obtained this wine, but, well, everything will be clear once I’ve ‘eaten’ you. Hahahahahahahahaha...”
After giving a cold, mechanical laugh, Szilard looked down towards his feet.
“But... These guys are truly a company of fools.”
He surveyed the corpses of the executives littered around the place.
“Or perhaps I could ask the ‘demon’ to grant me control of their souls?”
“... You... will never find out...”
“No, I will find out. I just have to ‘eat’ you know and I will know everything.”
As Szilard stooped down, his right hand slowly stretched towards Maiza’s head.
At this moment, the thunderous sound of gunfire came from outside.
He didn’t remember Ennis carrying any machine guns. The earlier three shots of gunfire, he thought, were fired by that youngster or his friends. Did guys armed with machine guns come as reinforcements?
For a brief moment, Szilard became a little distracted by the ongoings outside.
Maiza seized this momentary opening to grab Szilard’s ankles with both hands and quickly stood up. In an instant, Szilard’s body did a half-turn as it flipped down.
Although presented with his enemy’s momentary opening, Maiza never thought of grabbing his head. He stepped onto a nearby table and crashed through at an elevated place between two windows. On nights when alcohol was sold, the shop would be sealed off with wooden covers, but during the day there was just a layer of glass.
A clear, crisp shattering sound. Accompanied by a shower of glass shards, Maiza’s body flew out of the shop.
“... Don’t run!”
Szilard followed behind and leapt out through the window.
Then, he was hit by a car.
“Hahaha, that was easy... let’s get going before the woman regenerates...”
Dallas and his cohorts thought that the streets would be in chaos because of the sound of gunfire, so they decided to escape through an alley.
Not long after turning a corner, they heard some noise ahead of them as they walked. It was the sound of what seemed like the running of a motor and something large bumping the sides of the walls.
The source of the sound appeared around the next corner.
“You’ve got to be kidding...”
Just enough to fit into the alleyway, it was a common black automobile.
“Aaah, Isaa-a-accc! W-w-w-we’re b-b-b-bumping against the w-w-walll!”
The sound of the sides of the car scraping the walls pierced Miria’s eardrums, who was being jostled around violently.
“T-t-t-t-to begin with, Isaac, can you drive such a large car?”
“I-i-i-i-i-it’s okay! I’ve seen my dad drive this kind of car before and basically there’s n-n-not much d-d-d-difference f-f-f-from a s-s-s-s-s-small carrrrrrr!”
“I-i-i-i-i-i-i-I seeee! Then I can relax, right-t-t-t?”
The two, while following Dallas and his cohorts, found the car that hit them. It was Ennis’s car, but the two simply did not notice. No, they were absolutely certain this was the car that hit them.
Dallas had tweaked the car’s engine. They had stolen quite a few small cars when escaping but they were quite skilful. Being part of the Genoard family did not seem to stop them from gaining superb stealing techniques.
“If we hit them with the car, we will definitely win against machine guns!”
They didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about stealing the car. It was all fine that they had entered the car, but they had lost track of Dallas and his cohorts.
Then the sound of machine gun fire came from a nearby alley.
“There there there!”
Speeding up, they rushed towards the three people before their eyes.
Panicking, Dallas and his cohorts tried to escape and, just as they turned their backs, the car hit them. The impact sent them rolling up the bonnet and the roof, then down the back of the car.
“We did it!”
“Isaac! Front! Front!”
Before them, Maiza suddenly appeared.
Hastily, Isaac stepped on the brakes. Maiza had instantly noticed the car so he escaped, managing to avoid getting hit, but...
...the old man who came sailing down next was sent flying though the air.
As such, they had their revenge for the previous hit-and-run.
Isaac hurriedly braked the car.
- Actually “Isaac and the others”, but Isaac is driving?
As for Dallas and his cohorts, who had fallen down from the back of the car, they couldn’t move a single muscle.
Ennis, who had finished regenerating, slowly got to her feet.
“... Aah... Why... did something like this...”
Of all those who were gunned down by Dallas and his cohorts, only she herself was saved...
Unsure of what to do, she looked down at the bodies of Firo and the others beside her.
Chasing Dallas and his cohorts, Ennis rounded the corner, where an oddly curious- but to her, a startling- scene unfolded.
Parked in that small alleyway was her own automobile. Before the car, Szilard was pressing knife against Isaac’s throat. And in front of them was Maiza, who glared at Szilard and didn’t move an inch.
“Ooh, Ennis. Hm... You came at a good time.”
“Ennis! Save Isaac!”
The three men and woman called the woman’s name together.
“... What’s this?... Ennis, what is the meaning of this? Why do these two people know your name?”
Things had become tricky. Ennis had a troubled expression as she passed by Maiza. He didn’t move, glowering at her.
It seemed Szilard had taken Isaac hostage to stop Maiza’s escape. But she didn’t understand why Isaac and Miria were here.
“Ennis. I will listen to your explanations later... Switch places with for me just a second. Until I have ‘finished eating’ Maiza... If you see Maiza resist, kill them.”
“He- hey... Ennis?”
The duo both watched Ennis anxiously. Ennis suppressed the impatience in her heart and said,
“... Even so, you don’t have to specially go out of the way to take a hostage...”
“Wha-at?... I grabbed him just as a precaution.”
Ennis wordlessly accepted the knife and restrained Isaac in the same way.
“Aaah, Ennis, this is just a joke, right?”
Glancing back at the commotion by Isaac and Miria, Szilard walked towards Maiza. He was about to complete the long-anticipated ritual.
The machine gun was wrecked when he had been run over just now, so Szilard pulled a handgun from his breast pocket and fired at Maiza’s kneecaps.
His joints damaged, Maiza fell to his knees. This height was just right to let Szilard rest his right hand on his head.
“Kehehe... Are those two’s lives that important? What a joke. No, no... I also know that sentiments like love and friendship exist, and that people are willing to give up their lives or draw out their full potential for them-”
Grinning, he took another step forward.
“-But they’re also what I hate the most.”
Watching Szilard stalk towards Maiza, Ennis spoke quietly to Isaac and Miria.
“... Once that old man touches Maiza’s head... quickly escape from the scene...”
“E- Ennis...? Aah, thank goodness... It is Ennis after all!”
“Ennis, that’s right!”
The two also replied quietly.
They don’t know anything about me... Ennis was a little sad, but also a little happy.
“Ah... But we can’t... We have to save Maiza...”
“Because yesterday... he invited us to a meal... Ennis, he’s a good guy! We don’t know who that gramps is, but please help us!”
“Help us! We insist!”
Ennis couldn’t conceal her conflicted emotions, and fought to calm herself down as she asked the two,
“... You’ll... help that person...?”
“No, we’re helping Ennis!”
Ennis’ confusion further deepened.
“U-um... look! The guys Ennis took to the police escaped from jail yesterday and they were holding machine guns! So we thought they wanted to kill Ennis...”
“But you can relax! We ran them over with a car!”
They were still lying under the car.
Ennis became unable to articulate her feelings. Although they clearly knew their opponents had machine guns, they still came without the fear of death? All just for the sake of saving her?
In the space of a breath, this woman pondered many things. Though it seemed like much longer to her, the decision took only three seconds. She had never really seriously thought about the person who created her.
“... Mr. Isaac, Ms. Miria.”
“What is it?”
Words of farewell were always very short.
“I’m sorry... Thank you. I’m truly glad to be able to speak to you two at the very end... If you would just listen to my last selfish request...”
Seeing Miria’s sad smile, Ennis quietly lowered the knife and released Isaac.
“Please don’t forget me...”
Without waiting for Isaac and Miria’s reply, Ennis dashed off with the knife in her hand.
She was returning to the owner of her body, to the original ‘body’, Szilard---
“Continuing from our earlier conversation... That woman wearing the suit just now is a homunculus I created... Well, at the same size as humans we can hardly call her a ‘homunculus’ any more, although I, too, feel that this technique using male and female cells as a base is a little heretical.”
Szilard had a look of superiority on his face as he stopped his advance and looked down at Maiza. A gun was held in his left hand, the conta è oro’s despair in his right.
“Perhaps because the ‘failure’ was used in the culture, or because of the production process itself was wrong, Ennis... that girl, was born without any knowledge and useless... After ‘eating’ you I can use the ‘complete product’ as the culture fluid... No, since I already have your knowledge... I can just summon the ‘demon’ to ask.”
Having finished his arrogant speech, Szilard reached out with his right hand to Maiza’s head.
“Farewell, Maiza. And... welcome.”
His right hand was about to touch the head that was its food when, in that instant, it happened.
There was a forceful impact against his back and he felt something enter his body. As he no longer had the sense of pain, there was only a bizarre feeling of the shock spreading to the surrounding skin.
Szilard calmly turned his head to see the sorrowful face of Ennis.
The knife she was holding was stabbed deeply into Szilard’s spine.
“... Ennis... What is this? ... No, it’s fine. There's no longer a need for explanation.”
At the same time, a loud shout came from the corner of the street.
Firo, who should already be dead, hollered as he rushed over.
Gunfire continued to sound in the Alveare.
“You four over there, split up and watch the exits of the alleyway. You are not to act freely without orders, because this alleyway is their territory...”
Edward had, on receiving a report, arrived on scene with a large number of police officers.
“... What happened?”
On pushing open both doors and entering the shop, he found the shopkeeper standing there dumbly.
“Ah, no... I don’t understand it very well myself... I was suddenly dealt a blow by some weird geezer...”
Edward warily moved into the bar. En route he had the sound of machine gun fire, so he kept a grip on the gun in his hands and scrutinised the surroundings inside cautiously.
“... This is terrible.”
The shop looked like the aftermath of a hurricane strike.
Broken chairs could be seen everywhere around the entrance, while the damage of a machine gun attack stretched out over every corner of the room.
After having made a survey of the surroundings, Edward seemed a little relieved as he muttered,
“At least for now, there’re no dead people around here.”
There wasn’t a trace of blood to be seen in the room.
“Oooh... You let that brat pass through too... Ennis...”
Szilard slowly turned to face her.
“... ‘How disappointing’... is not something I will say. What I really feel is ‘it’s about time’. I’ve created ones before you, but they always betrayed me whenever they obtained some unnecessary knowledge... I thought a female would change everything, so I created you... but in the end nothing’s changed.”
It was the first time Ennis knew about her own ‘brothers’. But it no longer mattered any more.
She really wanted to just kick Szilard into the ground, but...
Szilard just thought of closing his eyes for a moment, and somehow Ennis was sprawled on the ground. It was nothing to be surprised about- it was just like a puppet having its strings cut.
In this instant, Szilard’s energy that protected the balance of cells was disrupted, and every part of Ennis’s body started to malfunction.
“I won’t kill you just yet... Your death must be full of suffering.”
A mocking smile appeared on the face, only to be disrupted by projectile lump of pepper.
An immortal, in possession vast quantities of ‘knowledge’, who desired to conquer the world. For such a man to actually be scared of the sting of pepper in his eyes was a comical sight.
“Bastard! What’d you do to Ennis!”
“What’d you do!”
The Father and nun threw the pepper in the bag in rapid succession. Although it seemed a little ridiculous, there was a sense of a demon exorcism with holy ash.
At this moment, Firo, who had dashed in, pulled Ennis and Maiza far away from Szilard.
“Mr. Maiza! Are you all right?!”
The holes in his knees were already half-closed. Perhaps because it was the first time they were damaged, the recovery seemed somewhat slower than Dallas and his cohorts.
“I’m... fine... Me aside... That girl...”
Ennis’s face had already become quite pale, and her pupils were clouding over. Even so, when she recognised Firo, even as she fought for breath, she slowly formed words.
“... You’ve... you... although I don’t know when... have also obtained immortality... just now... when I saw your wounds heal... I couldn’t understand...”
At that, Maiza stared at Firo with astonishment.
“Aah, I also have no clue about when it happened...”
“...... Then... I have a request... I... since I’m going to die anyway... please... please ‘eat’ me... the way... I described just now...”
“Don’t say such crazy things, hey!”
“... Can a homunculus like me... go to heaven or hell? I’m just afraid that... I can’t even end my life with my own hands... aah... I still.... have a lot I want to say to Mr. Isaac and Ms. Miria... so... please...... eat me... and pass on my message to them... and... this is the first time... someone has said I am beautiful... Thank you.... I’m very happy... I just wanted to tell you this......”
Hearing these words, Firo gripped her hand calmly... and shook his head.
“You don’t have to feel obliged to tell me these things... and, I’m an atheist so stop it. There is no heaven or hell after death... if you die... there’s nothing.”
“... ahaha... you’re really unforgiving...”
Ennis gave a somewhat regretful smile. In the meanwhile, her cells were still continually breaking down. At this point, her heart had already stopped beating. The instant Ennis died... Szilard’s portion of the constituent parts that made up this woman would return to the original body.
As Firo stood up, he stated clearly,
“Aah... this world is that unforgiving, and there isn’t some other world... so don’t die, because if you disappear you can’t pass on your message!... Don’t worry, if you were to die... I would never forgive that shitty geezer... Unless... you’re telling me you want to die....?”
As though thinking something over, Firo drew his knife and headed straight towards Szilard, who was shaking off the pepper.
Szilard glared back at Firo with furious eyes.
“Young man... What do you plan to do...?”
From behind, something was poured onto his head.
It was a liquid with a piercing smell. This was liquid fuel for lamps and the like.
Szilard turned back to look, and there stood the executives with Randy at fore. Although the sections of their clothing that were hit by bullets were tattered, there was not even a drop of bloodstain.
“You... should already have been killed! It can’t be... There wasn’t less wine... And... Maiza would never let you drink it...!”
Szilard shouted as he looked at Maiza. Maiza had the same expression as Szilard. Clearly, he didn’t expect this to happen either.
“What’re you babbling about?”
Held in Randy’s hand was an empty fuel canister.
“We’ve burned gloves and a storehouse before, but y’know...”
Thrown by Pezzo’s hand was a burning match.
“Setting a head on fire is a first for us.”
Szilard’s entire head was covered by blue-white flames.
Because he had no sense of pain, he couldn’t feel the searing heat. But the wildly dancing flames had snatched away Szilard’s field of vision.
Even so, Szilard could just about make out the youngster called Firo coming at him.
Was that guy an immortal too?
--- If that was the case.
Fear sprang up in Szilard.
“Uoooooooooooh! I won’t let youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”
Seeing Firo, who was closing in, he quickly stretched out his right arm.
“Out of the way! You damned right hand!”
Firo unleashed his wild emotions and slashed down with the knife he had drawn from his breast pocket.
The knife travelled along a line between the index and middle finger, splitting Szilard’s right hand right down to the wrist. The knife, caught by the bone, was pushed down hard by its owner.
Firo stretched out his own right hand towards Szilard’s face, which was wreathed with flames.
It didn’t matter if his own hand was roasted.
The youth prayed hard.
Hatefully, that the body before his eyes would be completely devoured.
To save the nameless girl, to obtain such ‘knowledge’.
This ending was far too simple for a man who had lived for over 300 years.
All that was left in the world of Szilard Barnes were his burning clothes and shoes.
And even these turned to ashes that, when lifted by a breeze, scattered to some unknown place.
Edward pushed open the back door just as Szilard’s shoes started to burn.
“... What’s the...”
Officers, like Edward, simply had no way of knowing what had happened. Shoes were burning, the Martillo executives were gathered, the Father and nun from just now were present, a car with a battered frame was parked in the alleyway, and there was a stench of fuel hanging in the air.
“What’s going on... Explain, Firo Prochainezo!”
Striding over briskly, Edward grabbed the collar of the youth with a weary face.
“It looks like no one has died here... Are you trying to tell me you’re planning a gun orchestra?”
“...... What’s the matter?”
“Drop the innocent act! There’ve been complaints about the endless gunfire here from ordinary citizens! Do you want me to arrest you for violating the Swords and Firearms Control Law?”
At this moment, the thunder of gunfire rang out around them.
The police officers hurriedly ducked, hands reaching into their breast pockets as they searched for the source of the sound.
On the car were a Father and a nun, brandishing machine guns at the sky. They were Tommy-guns that belonged to Dallas and his cohorts.
“Fuhahahahaha! We have taken the Martillo family’s treasure!”
“Taken it, yup!”
“Farewell, o incompetent policemen! And for your information, the Martillos didn’t do anything!”
“Didn’t do anything, yup!”
Having sprouted some words off the top of their heads, the two threw down the weapons and ran off. Although they were showing their concern for Firo and the others in their own way, the last line was the equivalent of saying ‘the Martillos did do something’.
“... Inspector... um...? Is it all right to shoot?”
“No... They were unarmed just now...”
Why a Father? After a little thought, he realised something when he recalled one of his objectives.
“... The mummy robbers!”
“Whatever, just chase after those guys! As long as they don’t have guns, don’t shoot!”
Seeing the bewildered faces of his underlings, Edward rapidly issued orders.
The police officers started a quick chase after them, leaving Edward the only police-affiliated person on the scene.
“Now... Don’t think you can trick me just like that, Firo.”
At this moment, two new men appeared from the shop.
“Ah-... Mr. Edward, you’re already here...”
“There’s something you need to assist us with. Come with us for a moment.”
It was Bill and Ronald.
“We’ll tell you what you want to know.”
“... What’s going on?”
“Come and find out.”
Ronald said tonelessly. Edward was a little baffled, but ended up following them.
After Edward disappeared into the shop, Bill greeted Maiza.
“Ah-... How is Szilard?”
Hearing that, Maiza looked closely at the man before him.
When he saw his true form, Maiza gave a point-blank answer.
“Aah... That guy... has already disappeared.”
“Eh-... Into your body?”
Maiza gave a somewhat mischievous smile as he answered,
“This is our organisation’s secret, how can we leak it to those who are affiliated with the police?”
After the police officers had left, Maiza asked Firo a question,
“Firo... I'm at a loss. When did everyone turn immortal...? You have already received Szilard’s knowledge. You should understand what I mean?”
Firo bashfully confessed.
“Yesterday, I helped an old man, see.”
“That time, I secretly switched the wine that old man was holding: I emptied two of the four bottles of wine we bought for containers... then filled them with the stuff in the old man’s bottles and gave the remaining two to that geezer...”
Firo was very casual about this. If that old man had given his sincere thanks, he would have returned the wine, but if he refused to fix his bad attitude, he planned to steal it away just like that.
“Stolen goods must be shared. I was just following the Camorra rules...”
“You can’t mean... You shared it with everyone during the party?”
“... Now that I think about it... Even if I gave up one bottle of wine, I could still have switched over his two bottles perfectly...”
This didn’t really count as a big problem.
“No--, with Szilard’s knowledge at hand, I understand everything, but... Mr. Maiza...”
Firo gave the dazed Maiza a brief, wry smile.
“It seems coincidences really do exist in this world...”
The Father and nun kept running. Alleyway after alleyway, towards that fleeting moment of freedom.
The clamour of a crowd’s voices were growing louder, proof that they were getting close to the streets.
Just as the exit to the alleyways came into view, they noticed the two policemen standing there.
And it seemed they had seen them too, so Isaac and Miria slowed their speed and shouted as loudly as they could,
“Aah! Mr. Officer, please save us!”
Although it was an impromptu lie, their attire gave them a certain persuasiveness. Because it was so sudden, the police officers were hesitant to restrain the man and woman.
Miria leapt into one officer’s bosom, shaking exaggeratedly as she said,
“J-, j-j-j-just now some people holding weapons were chasing after us!”
This wasn’t a lie.
Faced with an unfamiliar situation, the two officers’ reactions to their words were a little extreme. Reaching to their weapons at their waists, they looked towards the other direction of the alley anxiously.
... But what appeared around the corner was a group of familiar uniforms.
By the time the two police officers had looked back, the duo had dashed in and mingled with the crowds.
These two officers mounted the NYPD-exclusive horses they had brought along, intending to chase. But they were prevented from doing so by the very citizens they were pledged to protect.
Isaac shouted as he tossed the rolls of banknotes from his bag into the sky.
“Ahahahahahaha! You’re too early, too early! Early by a month!”
As Miria laughed loudly, the streets turned into a coliseum.
The crowd started to fight each other over the thrown paper notes, which flurried down like snow. Men holding ‘I want to work’ placards, beggars who cried because their legs were broken, ladies who came to buy wine, transportation truck drivers, horse-cart drivers, and even the wealthy with cash in their pockets- when they saw the easy money falling above like mana from heaven, they started scrabbling for it.
To be faster, to have more, to have a stronger desire to grab the money... this was the simple set of rules that accompanied the battle-royale on the battlefield. Confronted with waves of frenzy and delirium, the horses were simply unable to cope with the fighters' killing intent.... and even if they were, they wouldn't be able to break up the crowds.
Leaving behind the panicked and confused policemen, Isaac and Miria continued walking towards the station. Scattering money and running to hide one’s traces was one of the most basic knowledge for any bank robber. It was because everyone knew about it that this was effective... Isaac fully believed in it, and it did work very well in reality.
If there was any problem, it would be that, at the station, most of their loot (99% from the Genoards’ inheritance) was gone.
Then again, they wouldn’t be who they were if they cared about these kinds of big problems.
“Now then... Where should we run to, Miria?”
“Anywhere would do!”
“I see-... To make up for our losses, why don’t we go gold-mining?”
“The Gold Rush, right?! But then, this means we won’t be robbers... Are we washing our hands of dirty business?”
“Ah---... In other words, it is, that. The amount of money we’ll earn will be as large as the Earth!”
They still continued their usual type of dialogue, but they both regretted one thing.
“... We didn’t say our goodbyes to Ennis and the others, did we.”
“... That’s right.”
At the entrance of the train station, the robber-duo once again turned back to look at this city.
Staring at the dizzying city, Isaac murmured softly,
“It was an interesting city.”
“I want to come again, to meet up with Ennis and the others.”
“We definitely will!”
Isaac took out the last roll of bills from the bag and headed inside the station to buy train tickets to California.
“In the end, this is all we have left.”
“Mm... But everyone has gained something, so isn’t it a good thing? For us too!”
“Really...? I see. The deceased Mr. Genoard must also be very happy, right?”
“And those dead children too!”
“Then, our theft brings happiness to the Genoard children.”
“That’s right! There’s no more fighting over the inheritance, so they must be getting along very well!”
At the very end of the day, these two still continued speaking in the same way. Thus, the couple that were the guests of honour in this baccano were about to disappear from the stage of NY. baccano: Italian for commotion, loud noise
Just before they boarded the train, the two saw a signboard saying ‘Welcome to NY!’.
On that street, Isaac left a footprint on the signboard as remembrance.
This graffiti later became the inspiration for the big bite mark in the Big Apple drawing that symbolised New York.
When Dallas Genoard awoke, he found himself in what seemed to be a dark warehouse.
“Have you woken?”
Before him were the trio he had definitely killed.
As for himself, his hands and feet were bound and he was in a drum canister. With his face protruding outside, he looked around fearfully. His two other comrades were also in the same predicament as he.
“Aah, this place is something like a villa for us... Our homes and hideout are all being watched by the police...”
“Wh-Why... Why’re you guys alive!?”
At Dallas’s cry, Luck answered as the representative of the brothers.
“Who knows? Why indeed...? Just now I asked Firo over the phone... I have no reason to tell you, so please curse your longevity with all your might.”
They had also attended that party. Since that was the case, the toast meant they had also joined the ranks of immortality. Naturally, Dallas and his cohorts had no way of knowing that this had passed.
Before Dallas could speak, Keith came up and dropped something into the drum.
It was a stack of poker cards.
“Keith-bro is so kind, huh... While waiting to age to death at the bottom of the ocean, you will have plenty of free time to spare, right? ...That’s why-”
When the meaning of those words sunk in, Dallas and his cohorts were assailed by a hopeless terror.
The 52 jokers dropped into the drum jeered coldly at Dallas’s fate.
“That you can continually drown for 70 years without dying is astounding... Or maybe it’s the world that’s astounding? I’m very sorry, but there will be no records left of you...”
“We’d love to kill you, but since you won’t die from bullets or fists, it can’t be helped... Oh yes, if you get bored, how about listening to the radio?”
Berga asked cheerily.
“Hahaha, the batteries will run out.”
“I see... Then, what about chess?”
“The chess pieces will float in water... How do the Conan Doyle novels sound?”
“The paper will get soggy.”
After laughing for a while, the three together turned their eyes on Dallas.
Those incredibly gazes were enough reason for tears to fill Dallas’s eyes.
“Now... choose. Which do you prefer?”
The gathering ground of ‘members’. The old men all gathered there at night, but there was no sign of Szilard... instead, 5-6 police officers were waiting for them. Among them, Edward, Bill and Ronald could be seen.
“Wh... who’re you!”
Facing the old men who were in an uproar, Edward gave a simple explanation.
“Ah-.... There were suspicious that you were secretly producing alcohol, so we came to investigate.”
“What... What evidence do you have!”
“Eh--.... it’s that, there was a fire yesterday and this was left in the wake of the flames.”
An ash-covered bottle was taken out. It was an intact bottle Barnes was responsible for managing.
“Hm-.... It has nothing to do with you, hm... Then-”
It seemed the bottle was going to be thrown to the floor. The old men let out a collective lamenting wail.
“Ooh? ...Maybe it’s best to find someone who understands things better to help.”
“You’re taking the game too far, Bill.”
Ronald continued from him.
“Your organization has been on the Bureau’s radar for a long time. Be it Szilard or the wine you wish to produce.”
There was commotion among the old men.
“Why... Why does the ‘Bureau’ know about Master Szilard...”
“Ah-.... it’s because we’ve got some long-lived fellows among our superiors... To be frank, our real purpose in coming to New York is concerning their orders... to handle this ‘wine’ incident.”
“Our Bureau’s motto is ‘cases will never end’. Just as our superior had said, this is the same as the incident that could not be explained by science 200 years ago.”
“He- hey! Edward!”
He heard a voice calling for him. It was the superior who topped his ‘most loathed’ list, Commander Verde. Even the top police officials were Szilard’s followers... But at the same time, the reality was that this was the most power Szilard could seize.
“Edward! Stop them somehow! As long as we have this medicine, we can take over the world! We will become superior to normal humans! You want this kind of power too, right? So...!! Hey, Edward! Say something!”
Despite his boiling anger, or perhaps because of it, Edward chose to remain calm.
Even laughter threatened to bubble up. But no, he could only smile.
“Commander... If you had at least said something along the lines of ‘the world will suffer from diseases and accidents no more’, I might still have considered it... In truth, you have disappointed me greatly.”
“Commander... between eternity for myself and my country for all time, I choose an everlasting nation...”
Edward took the bottle from Bill’s hand.
“And more than just my duty as a police officer, I cannot tolerate any existence created by violating laws.”
Without any hesitation, he hurled the bottle into a corner of the room.
Accompanying the wails of the old men, the bottle shattered into pieces.
Some of the old men seemed to want to lap up the wine pooling on the floor, but, as though he had anticipated this, Ronald lit a match and tossed it onto the floor.
The alcohol rapidly caught fire, beautifully illuminating the despairing faces of the old men for a fleeting moment.
One of the officers dashed the buckets of water he was holding onto the fire. In an instant, both the fire and dreams of immortality were extinguished. From the very beginning, they had been planning to break those bottles before these old men.
“Ah-.... And what’s left... is for you to work hard, serving the country before old age catches up. And your efforts will determine whether your names will go down in history as one of the cornerstones of this country, don’t you agree? Also... ah, incidentally, Mr. Szilard won’t be coming again.”
After bidding farewell to the old men, who were busy fainting or weeping, Edward and the others departed, leaving the basement behind.
Sitting in the shaky car driven by Ronald, Edward muttered accusingly,
“... So you tricked me.”
At first, Edward had absolutely refused to believe anything said about the wine of immortality. But when he discovered that rat at the scene of the fire... Once he saw the rat that was alive even though it was on fire, he was forced to believe, whether he liked it or not.
“But why did you tell me everything?”
At this question, Ronald gave a simply response.
“Our superior... isn’t one of the top guns at the Bureau, but someone with an equivalent position... He likes you for never bending to bribery nor violence, and your strong, albeit somewhat skewed, sense of justice.”
“... Why me?”
“You aspire to join the Bureau. We investigate much more about candidates than you think.”
“Eh-.... We look forward to working with you in the future.”
Bill and Ronald gave him wide grins.
Edward shook his head, smiling wryly, and replied to his two future seniors,
“... By then, you better not be hiding anything from me.”
Afterwards, Edward became a part of the Bureau... later known as the FBI, as one of the leading investigators. At the time, he hadn’t learned that Firo and the others had attained immortality, but once he knew, his pet phrase became ‘Sentenced them for life, and let them spend the rest of eternity in prison’... Every time he thought of Firo and Maiza, he would repeat the line above with a smile on his face.
After Edward and the others had left, Maiza collapsed to his knees.
“Wha- what’s wrong, Mr. Maiza!”
“What in the world... did I do...”
Having heard everything from Firo, Maiza was overwhelmed by guilt. Because of him, all his friends, including Firo, had been sucked into the never-ending cycle.
“Eh? Wait a sec...? What’re you saying, Mr. Maiza?!”
“Giving the pain of eternal life... of all things, to you people...”
“What’re you saying?! We don’t mind at all! Rather, not dying’s great- kinda makes me feel like going ‘yahoo!’. Right, everyone?”
Firo hastily refuted Maiza’s way of thinking and turned to Randy and the others for support.
“Eh? I-I don't really get it, but ‘yahoo’!”
“‘Yahoo’-! Cheer up, Maiza.”
Randy and Pezzo leaped forward. They didn’t seem to get the business about immortality. The other executives also weren’t very clear about it themselves, but when they saw the two dancing around, they started to laugh out loud and cheer.
“Look, if Don and Mr. Yagulma don’t say anything, people’ll mistake it for ‘longevity’!”
But the look of distress did not disappear from Maiza’s face.
“Firo... You should understand with Szilard’s knowledge, right... Truth be told... I’m tired of living... My brother’s grudge, Szilard, is also dead, so now there’s no more meaning to my life... that’s it, Firo... I...”
Having listened up to this point, Firo replied with a somewhat serious expression.
“No way!...If you weren’t here, which one of us would deal with the accounts?... Mr. Maiza, are you trying to ruin this organization?”
“... Damn, we need a conta è oro ... Ah, wait a moment please, if you ‘ate’ me, then my accounting knowledge would...”
“No way. I’m stupid, so even if I received the knowledge I'll probably forget it soon enough... Right now, I’m already starting to forget the knowledge I got from Szilard...”
“Why is it always a ‘no’...?”
“You know, Mr. Maiza... One of the laws of the Camorra states that, no matter what the reason, if one kills a friend they would be rewarded with death... I don’t want to die yet, so please forgive me.”
“... How troublesome... Just because you can’t find a conta è oro...”
Maiza grinned. Firo grinned back.
“Also... if Mr. Maiza disappeared I would get lonely, so please live on.”
And, gradually, the two started laughing.
At a woman’s voice, they turned their heads to look, and saw a young woman in a black suit standing there.
“Why... am I...”
After obtaining Szilard’s knowledge, the first thing Firo did was to restore new life to Ennis’s near-dead cells. In sympathetic response with her immortal cells, the link of life Szilard had severed once again joined together. If Ennis was said to be a part of Szilard... then it wasn’t an exaggeration to say she was now part of Firo.
“Ah-! Right, right! Because that Edward fellow suddenly came, so I completely forgot about you... Sorry!”
Ennis just looked bewildered.
“My name is Firo Prochainezo. ...I was looking for you because you’re fascinating and attractive. I helped you because I want to ask you something.”
“Want to ask something...?”
Looking at the perplexed Ennis, Firo smiled as he said,
“... I want to know your name.”
After a moment’s thought, Ennis answered,
“Is it not... in Szilard’s knowledge?”
Firo shook his head hard, smiling embarrassedly.
“Ah-... That’s... How to put it? ... I wanted to hear it from you.”
Hearing Firo’s words, the surrounding people clamoured up around the two. ‘Wait a sec, you’re not confessing, are you?! You’re still school children!’...Firo didn’t hear any objections of this sort. With Randy and Pezzo as the leaders, everyone started cheering ‘yahoo yahoo’ excitedly.
Just like the happy ending in a movie... everyone present was laughing.
“That commotion just now was really impressive, wasn’t it... Exactly what on earth happened?”
“... Nothing, just that a Father has gone around scattering rolls of banknotes.”
Walking along the streets resounding with countless beggars’ voices, Ronny politely replied to the Don.
“Ooh?... the so-called Fathers just think of it a profession which uses the name of God to curry favours, but this Father on the other hand seems doing quite well, hm... Even God doesn’t normally save his own believers...”
Hearing Yagulma’s cold, curt thoughts, Molsa opened his mouth and rebuked him,
“Yagulma... Don’t underestimate this thing called God. It can hurt you sometimes... There are times when you fall into a depression you cannot pull yourself out of. I just wanted to make this point.”
The top executives who had returned after completing their business. For some reason many police officers were surrounding their store, so as a precaution they decided to go around the back. And so they saw all the executives stirring up a ruckus.
“What’s this? Why’s everyone outside?”
Yagulma tilted his head in disbelief.
Ronny had a somewhat surprised expressed as he looked hard at Firo and the others.
“I had noticed it last night during the toast... but I ended up not stopping it. ...I can’t imagine what it’ll be like... If we all became long-lived.......... Well, no matter.“
“Hm? What, you’re mumbling something.”
“Nah... You look happy, don’t you?”
“Anyway, youth is a wonderful thing.”
The Don spoke as he embraced the mountain of pepper*, and the two smiled as they nodded.
- To clarify, the Don is very fond of black pepper (seen from the party scene), and Isaac and Miria had stolen all the pepper at the party. So he went out and bought a lot.
The spiral had completely collapsed. What emerged from the rubble...
There, a new spiral started once again.
But what has changed...
Is that this spiral will continue on forever.
Well, that’s it.
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